Friday, April 22, 2011

Interview: Tara on the McMaster Solar Car!

Hi everyone, sorry the last posting was delayed because of exams. I know I talk about school a lot in these posts – it’s kind of why I’m here at Mac! – but there is a lot that goes on outside of classes, too. My friend Tara (a graduating Engineering Physics student, on the right in the picture shown), for example, is really involved with the McMaster Solar Car Project – a team that works together to design and build cars powered only by solar energy, and race against other vehicles from around the world. She answers some questions about her work with them below:

1) When and how did you first get involved with the McMaster Solar Car team?
In mid-March of 2009, I became acquainted with some of the members of the Solar Car team through casual conversation. A few weeks later they mentioned that they planned on doing their theses on the electrical/electro-mechanical sections of the solar car. I found this topic very interesting, and accepted an offer to complete my thesis on this work. I enjoyed the experience of working on the car so much that I have never left the team since.

2) What is your role within the team, and why?
In May 2010 I became one of the managers of the electrical team, co-managing along with another member. I was selected for this role because of my experience with the team through my thesis, active participation throughout the following year, and my ability to direct and delegate. In the meanwhile, one of the projects I took on was initiating an encapsulation process for solar cells. We have a small scale process completed right not and plan to have the full scale process running before the end of this summer.

3) What is the most challenging part of your involvement?
As a manager, the most challenging aspect has been motivating super-busy volunteers to meet a set of deadlines while struggling with funding for projects.

4) How do you balance work on the car with coursework?
Ever since I joined the McMaster Solar Car project, I have found that I have gained more enthusiasm towards my course work and have become stronger at time management. Despite the Solar Car team consuming much of my time, it has made it easier for me to organize myself – perhaps because I have gained a different appreciation for time. The motivation comes from seeing direct application of subjects we have learned about in school, as well as working alongside a strong group of motivated students who are team players and willing to share their knowledge and experience.


  1. To use solar power is not inimical, neither is it detrimental to our environment. So how does solar power work? Solar power works through photovoltaics at your home is by using it to generate electricity. In this method the light that reaches Earth from the sun is harnessed instead of its heat.

  2. I have learnt that Solar power is energy from the sun and without its presence all life on world would end. . solar power.
    Solar energy has been looked upon as a serious source of energy for many years because of the vast amount of energy that are made freely available, if harnessed by recent knowledge.


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